Employers, coaches and speakers have long cited self-promotion as the most effective vehicle for standing out. Singularity offers a more viable alternative the ability to glow continuously.
Dave Astor, author of the laugh-out-loud Comic and Column Confessional: Finding Myself While Covering Syndicates, Celebrities and a Changing Media World (Xenos, $27.95), considers a singular person exceptional, distinctive and out-of-the-ordinary in one or multiple ways and they dont have to be famous. (Full disclosure: Astor briefly mentioned my work in Editor & Publisher, newspaper syndications trade journal, and in his book.)
Hes interviewed, published articles about and rubbed shoulders with countless celebrities, beginning with Peanuts creator Charles Schulz. Astor attributes the singularity of columnists, cartoonists and others to talent, hard work and/or gifted self-promotion, among others.
Bringing corporate perspective, Sara Canaday of Sara Canaday and Assoc. in Austin, Tex., a leadership and career consulting firm, equates singularity with uniqueness and being memorable.
Singular people rank top-of-mind when theres a job opportunity or an opportunity for exposure, to (move up) or represent the company at a conference or to be the person the company fights to keep.
Unlike self-promotion, singularity is always there, working for you.
How does singularity develop? Astor maintains that it springs from a platform of raw materials, abilities and intelligence.
Being ambitious helps, he indicates, as can connections, luck, looks, charisma. ...
Not everyone agrees. You need passion for a foundation, according to Noam Kostucki, co-founder of London, Englands Redefine Us, a training and coaching firm.
When employees are passionate about what they do, he observes, their work rises to the top naturally ... and creates an inner crowd, sharing the same passion. Passions power lies in its source, your inner being, making it possible both to stand out and connect with others.
Canaday believes that singularity is developed through relational skills, becoming collaborative, influential, inspiring and moving. Its how we bring our skills to the table. We simply must understand our reputations, our impact on others.
Does working or living around singular people rub off?
Consider the expression that water seeks its own level. If that is true, youd disagree with Astor, who posits, I might have benefited from a bit of reflected glory when my byline was on a piece about a singular person.
His singular writing and humor dont require it.
Being singular might or might not mean youll fit where you are. In organizations the more singular people rise to the top but might not win popularity contests, Kostucki points out. Astor repeatedly refers to niceness in his book.
Of course, being singular doesnt always mean also being nice, he points out, but its refreshing when a singular person is likable!
While singularity itself might seem timeless, a singular person in our time is agile, according to Canaday, handling uncertainty and dealing with multiple generations and global partners, responding to rapid change.
The agility is nowhere more pronounced than in the virtual workplace, where people learn to interact with trust in an atmosphere with ever-diminishing clues about each other.
Is this a branding issue? Canaday thinks so, perhaps because she teaches the skill of communicating a persons value. Astor wouldnt seem to agree, because Comic and Column Confessional looks at the people and their work, for whom singularity has become a statement of being.
Dr. Mildred L. Culp welcomes your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2012 Passage Media.